Avondale Bowl

Chicago, Illinois | C.2019

Photo Credit: Wade Hall McElroy

A deep love of neighborhood and commitment to historic preservation have resulted in Chicago’s newest bowling alley. The eight-lane Avondale Bowl in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood dates back to the 1920s. The alley reopened in 2019 following a finely-crafted restoration.

Situated on the second floor storage space of a grocery store, the run-down alley was discovered by Luke Blahnik while he was touring the building in hopes of buying it. Blahnik committed to reopening the space once he secured the right team. Since then, he and his co-owner have partnered with architects and artists to revitalize Avondale Bowl.

Originally known as “Northwest Bowl”, this alley opened in the 1920s and operated for 70 years before Wally’s International Market moved into the space.

The building’s tenant roster is a testament to the area’s deep roots as an immigrant and working-class neighborhood. Throughout the 20th century, Polish, Eastern European, Filipino and Hispanic immigrants have settled in the area and intermingled through local taverns and shops.

The revitalized Avondale bowl is a nod to the old school vibes of bowling’s golden era, featuring eight lanes and hand scoring by card. Its original pin setters and wood lanes have been restored as well, and the alley will salvage much of the original art and signage. Blahnik hopes to preserve a piece of Avondale history and provide a recreational space for the community to enjoy.

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